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Digital Decision Aids: An Evolving Approach to Improving Patient Health

By definition, chronic diseases are persistent health conditions, and often difficult to manage. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal identified several ways in which health care providers are experimenting to improve patients’ ability to manage their conditions. And the results look promising. Doctors involved in a 2016 study at Massachusetts General Hospital noted improved engagement with patients after adopting digital decision aids.

The Solve community, too, has been busy identifying technological solutions to stubborn health challenges. Our most recent health challenge, focused on chronic diseases and on March 7, fourteen finalists will pitch their solution during Solve at the United Nations. Innovators from seven countries will present their novel approaches to better prevent, detect, and manage chronic diseases, with a focus on resource-limited settings. 

Notably, five people will pitch their solutions to diabetes, which alone affects an estimated 422 million people worldwide. These solutions address diabetes in different ways, from early detection through blood screening to digital self-coaching aids that incentivize behavioral change.

Others tackle chronic diseases through a mix of health education platforms, tech-informed behavioral interventions, and health care provider supports. Many solutions deploy decision aids to connect patients with resources to improve their conditions. And common to each solution is a belief in the power of human-centered technology to solve tough health challenges like chronic diseases. 

Solve’s fourteen finalists in the chronic disease challenge will deliver their pitches to a panel of experienced judges, including:

  • Dr. Jeffrey L. Sturchio, President & CEO, Rabin Martin—a leading global health consulting firm
  • Dr. Corinna Lathan, CEO, Co-Founder, and Board Chair, AnthroTronix—a woman-owned biomedical engineering research and development company 
  • Dr. Nalini Saligram, Founder & CEO, Arogya World--a global health non-profit committed to changing the course of chronic disease
  • Gillian Christie, Health Innovation Manager, The Vitality Group—a pioneer of the shared-value insurance and wellness model
  • Amy Siegel, Founder S2N Health—a business and marketing consulting firm focused on emerging medical technologies

Each finalist will have three minutes to deliver their pitch, followed by a round of incisive questioning from our judges. Just five solutions will be selected to become Solver teams, and will work with Solve staff to foster partnerships with member organizations to advance their solutions. And who knows, perhaps the next time you visit your health care provider, they’ll share a technology developed by the Solve community. 


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